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Compact Catmint

I have quite a bit of catmint in my garden, but sadly I don’t have a cat...

Nepeta x faassenii 'Blue Wonder' catmint at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

I have quite a bit of catmint in my garden, but sadly I don’t have a cat. I grow the catmint as a ground cover because it stifles weeds and is a great unifier of diverse plantings. Also although cats passing through my garden may enjoy it, the visiting deer probably won’t!

As I read my catalogs this winter, I notice that there are more compact varieties of Nepeta (catmint) available nowadays.

One that caught my attention has the quite appropriate name, I thought, of ‘Cat’s Meow’. It grows only 20 inches tall but 2 to 3 feet wide and is hardy in zones 3 through 8. In full sun, its grey-green leaves look attractive with its sky-blue flowers, produced on well-branched stems from early summer into fall. It looks tidy, with a neat round shape all season long.

Another well-behaved new variety of catmint is ‘Junior Walker’, so named because a parent is that old favorite ‘Walker’s Low’. Junior is only 18 inches tall, produces lavender-blue flowers and is non-reseeding like ‘Walker’s Low’, which actually is not low even though its name certainly gives that impression.

‘Junior Walker’ has the added advantage of blooming from mid-May through September if grown in full sun in zones 5 through 9. Additionally, Junior does not need to be sheared back to stimulate repeat bloom, unlike its more elderly relatives.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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